Intense fighting as Ukrainian forces launch major assault against Russian positions - Newstrends
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Intense fighting as Ukrainian forces launch major assault against Russian positions



Intense fighting as Ukrainian forces launch major assault against Russian positions

A substantial Ukrainian force was pushing an assault against Russian positions in the south on Thursday, in an intensification of fighting that some Ukrainian officials and western analysts said marked the start in earnest of Kyiv’s much-vaunted counteroffensive.

The combat against Russian positions south of Zaporizhzhia included western-supplied tanks and armoured vehicles and infantry backed by artillery. There were reports of intense fighting outside of the town of Tokmak, a key Russian logistical hub.

Asked about US media reports that the counteroffensive had begun, a spokesman for Ukraine’s general staff said: “We have no such information. And we do not comment on anonymous sources.”

Ukrainian officials, however, have insisted that they would not make an official announcement when the counteroffensive begins and have cautioned against focusing on a single area, suggesting it could involve a number of components.

The Institute for the Study of War, a US-based thinktank that has been producing daily updates on the war, said it had concluded on Thursday that the Ukrainian counteroffensive had begun.


“Activity throughout Ukraine is consistent with a variety of indicators that Ukrainian counteroffensive operations are under way across the theater,” the group tweeted.

Following days of heavy shelling of Russian defences, Ukrainian units were reported to have stepped up efforts to break thorough in the Orihiv-Tokmak sector, which blocks the route to the Russian-occupied city of Melitopol – a key objective for Kyiv.

Unconfirmed reports suggested that German-made Leopard tanks and US Bradleys had been thrown into the battle along with scores of other armoured vehicles.

The Russian defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, said Ukrainian forces from Ukraine’s 47th mechanised brigade, with up to 1,500 troops and 150 armoured vehicles, made “an attempt to break through” but Russian forces dealt the attack “a preventive blow”, although Russian military bloggers painted a far more nuanced picture.

Images posted by the Russian military blogger Rybar purported to show Ukrainian armour immobilised during the assault although neither those claims nor those of Shoigu could be verified.

Intense fighting as Ukrainian forces launch major assault against Russian positions


Court rejects Trump’s bid to delay trial in wake of fraud ruling



Former president Donald Trump

Court rejects Trump’s bid to delay trial in wake of fraud ruling

AN appeals court Thursday rejected Donald Trump’s bid to delay a civil trial in a lawsuit brought by New York’s attorney general, allowing the case to proceed days after a judge ruled the former president committed years of fraud and stripped him of some companies as punishment.

The decision, by the state’s intermediate appellate court, clears the way for Judge Arthur Engoron to preside over a non-jury trial starting Monday in Manhattan in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ civil lawsuit.

Trump is listed among dozens of possible witnesses, setting up a potential courtroom showdown with the judge. The fraud ruling Tuesday threatens to upend his real estate empire and force him to give up prized New York properties such as Trump Tower, a Wall Street office building, golf courses and a suburban estate.

Trump has denied wrongdoing, arguing that some of his assets are worth far more than what’s listed on annual financial statements that Engoron said he used to secure loans and make deals. Trump has argued that the statements have disclaimers that absolve him of liability. His lawyers have said they would appeal.

Messages seeking comment were left Thursday with Trump’s lawyers and James’ office.

In New York “these cases take many years to get to trial,” Trump wrote Wednesday in a post on his Truth Social platform that appeared to conflate several of his legal foes. “My Political Witch Hunt case is actually scheduled to start on Monday. Nobody can believe it? This is a ‘Railroading’ job, pushed hard by the Radical Left DOJ for purposing Election Interference. A very SAD time for New York State, and America!”


Trump’s lawyers first sought to delay the trial before Engoron’s ruling, but said the decision only bolstered their claims that the judge was abusing his authority.

Trump’s lawyers sued Engoron on Sept. 14, accusing him of ignoring the law and hindering their preparations by failing to comply with a June appeals court order that he narrow the scope of the trial based on the statute of limitations.

They filed the lawsuit under a provision known as Article 78, which allows challenges to some judicial decisions, and asked that the trial be postponed until that matter was resolved.

An appeals court judge, David Friedman, granted an interim stay of the trial while the full appeals court considered the lawsuit on an expedited basis. Thursday’s ruling lifted the stay, allowing the trial to proceed as scheduled. The appeals court did not rule on the defense’s underlying complaints about Engoron. Through a court lawyer, Engoron declined to participate in the appeals court process. Other proceedings in the case went on while the panel mulled a delay.

Engoron, ruling Tuesday in a phase of the case known as summary judgment, found that Trump and his company, the Trump Organization, defrauded banks, insurers and others with annual financial statements that massively overvalued his assets and exaggerated his wealth. Engoron ordered some of Trump’s companies removed from his control and dissolved. James alleges Trump boosted his net worth by as much as $3.6 billion.


Trump’s lawyers, in a letter to the appeals court, said Engoron’s 35-page decision showed he remained intent on defying the appeals court by ignoring the statute of limitations issue. Engoron refused to dismiss any claims and based his fraud ruling partly on stale allegations that should’ve been thrown out, Trump lawyer Clifford Robert wrote.

Engoron’s fraud ruling resolved the key claim in James’ lawsuit, but six others remain. They include allegations of conspiracy, falsifying business records and insurance fraud. The judge will also decide on James’ request for $250 million in penalties.

James’ office argued Trump’s lawsuit against Engoron was a “brazen and meritless attempt” to usurp his authority and that any delay “would likely wreak havoc on the trial schedule” and could cause conflicts with Trump’s four pending criminal cases.

The civil trial is the culmination of a yearslong investigation by James’ office that saw Trump questioned under oath and millions of pages of documents change hands. Engoron has said it could take three months.

At a hearing Wednesday, Trump’s lawyers pressed Engoron for clarity on his ruling, which revokes Trump’s New York business licenses and shifts control of some of his companies to a court-appointed receiver. At one point, Kise suggested canceling the trial altogether since the judge had already ruled on the biggest issue.

“So, I’m just, me, wondering: what’s the point?” Kise asked.

Court rejects Trump’s bid to delay trial in wake of fraud ruling

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Russia-Ukraine war : Putin meets former Wagner commander, Andrei Troshev



Vladimir Putin, Andrei Troshev

Russia-Ukraine war : Putin meets former Wagner commander, Andrei Troshev

Russian President Vladimir Putin has met one of the most senior ex-commanders of the Wagner mercenary group, who the Kremlin says now works for the defence ministry.

Andrei Troshev is a former aide of late Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, who was killed in a plane crash in August.

His death came two months after Wagner troops briefly marched on Moscow.

President Putin asked Mr Troshev to oversee volunteer fighter units in Ukraine, the Kremlin said.

Addressing Mr Troshev, the president said he could “volunteer units that can perform various combat tasks, above all, of course, in the zone of a special military operation”, in reference to Ukraine.

“You know about the issues that need to be resolved in advance so that the combat work goes in the best and most successful way,” Mr Putin added.


Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the RIA news agency that Mr Troshev “now works in the defence ministry”.

The meeting comes as Mr Putin attempts to reassert his authority following Wagner’s mutiny in June.

In the space of just 24 hours, Prigozhin staged an insurrection, sending troops into the southern city of Rostov, then further on towards Moscow, before retreating. It was the biggest challenge to Mr Putin’s authority in two decades.

The president last month called on all employees of Wagner and other Russian private military contractors to take an oath of allegiance to the Russian state.

Mr Troshev is known by his alias Sedoi, which means “the one with grey hair”. He is a well-respected veteran of Russia’s wars in Afghanistan and Chechnya.

He was awarded the Hero of Russia Award for his role in supporting government forces in Syria in 2015 and 2016 as Wagner commander.

Prigozhin and nine others were killed in the crash near Moscow on 23 August.

The Wagner boss was described by many as a “dead man walking” after the failed mutiny.

The Kremlin has denied any involvement.

Russia-Ukraine war : Putin meets former Wagner commander, Andrei Troshev


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Donald Trump found liable for fraud in New York civil case



Former president Donald Trump

Donald Trump found liable for fraud in New York civil case

A New York judge found Donald Trump and his family business fraudulently inflated the value of his properties and other assets, in a major defeat for the former U.S. president that could severely hamper his ability to do business in the state.

The scathing decision by Justice Arthur Engoron of New York state court in Manhattan will make it easier for state Attorney General Letitia James to establish damages at a scheduled Oct. 2 trial.

Engoron also ordered the cancellation of certificates that let some of Trump’s businesses, including the Trump Organization, operate in New York, and ordered the appointment of a receiver to manage the businesses’ dissolution.

The judge described how Trump, his adult sons Donald Jr. and Eric, the Trump Organization and other defendants made up valuations and inflated Trump’s net worth to suit their business needs.

“That is a fantasy world, not the real world,” Engoron wrote.

The judge also sanctioned the defendants’ lawyers for making “preposterous” legal arguments and fueling their clients’ “obstreperous” conduct.

Trump and the other defendants have argued that they never committed fraud, and that the challenged transactions were profitable. They plan to appeal Engoron’s decision.

“Today’s outrageous decision is completely disconnected from the facts and governing law,” Christopher Kise, a lawyer for Trump, said in a statement. “President Trump and his family will seek all available appellate remedies to rectify this miscarriage of justice.”


James said she looks forward to presenting the rest of her case at trial.

“It’s a devastating ruling,” said Bill Black, distinguished scholar in residence for financial regulation at the University of Minnesota Law School. He said cancelling business certificates could hurt Trump’s ability to make money.

“If the decision is upheld, they have to liquidate the LLCs which actually hold the enormous bulk of the assets,” Black said, referring to limited liability companies.

Trump is seeking the Republican presidential nomination for 2024 and has maintained a commanding lead in the race despite the criminal charges he faces in multiple cases.

In a post on his Truth Social platform, Trump called accusations that he committed fraud “ridiculous and untrue,” and blasted Engoron as a “DERANGED” judge doing the bidding of James, a Democrat.

“This is Democrat Political Lawfare, and a Witch Hunt at a level never seen before,” Trump wrote. “If they can do this to me, they can do this to YOU!”

Trump has repeatedly asserted without evidence that indictments he faces are “witch hunts.”


James sued Trump in September 2022, accusing him, three of his adult children and the Trump Organization of lying for a decade about asset values and his net worth to defraud banks and insurers into providing better terms.

Engoron said James submitted “conclusive evidence” that Trump had overstated his net worth by between $812 million and $2.2 billion.

“Even in the world of high finance, this court cannot endorse a proposition that finds a misstatement of at least $812 million dollars to be ‘immaterial,'” he wrote.


The judge said Trump’s overvaluations included his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, his penthouse apartment in Manhattan’s Trump Tower, and various office buildings and golf courses.

He took particular issue with Trump’s claim that the penthouse was 30,000 square feet (2,787 square meters), nearly three times its actual size, resulting in an overvaluation of as much as $207 million.

“A discrepancy of this order of magnitude, by a real estate developer sizing up his own living space of decades, can only be considered fraud,” Engoron wrote.

The judge said Trump also grossly overvalued Mar-a-Lago, estimating it was worth as much as $612.1 million, though an assessor said its market value was no more than $27.6 million.

Engoron also chided Trump for offering defenses in a deposition that were “wholly without basis,” including that there was nothing wrong with how he valued properties in a given year if their values subsequently went up.

“He also seems to imply that the numbers cannot be inflated because he could find a ‘buyer from Saudi Arabia’ to pay any price he suggests,” the judge wrote.


Engoron’s ruling comes three months after a state appeals court said that some of James’ claims were too old because statutes of limitations had expired in either July 2014 or February 2016.


Engoron rejected Trump’s argument that the decision essentially gutted James’ lawsuit, which James has said reflected a series of “continuing wrongs” that she could prove at trial.

The appeals court dismissed one defendant, Trump’s daughter Ivanka, from the case.

Trump also faces a slew of other litigation.

He has pleaded not guilty to charges in four indictments accusing him of trying to overturn his 2020 election defeat by Democrat Joe Biden, hoarding classified materials, and covering up hush money payments to a porn star.

Trump also faces a January civil trial over damages he owes for defaming the writer E. Jean Carroll, who claimed he raped her. He has denied wrongdoing.

Engoron’s decision does not automatically mean James’ fraud case will go to trial next Monday.

Trump has sued to delay the trial, accusing Engoron and James of ignoring the appeals court order to narrow the case.

He and the other defendants have said this made it impossible to prepare for trial because they did not know which claims they would have to defend against.

The appeals court is expected to rule on the request for a delay this week.

Donald Trump found liable for fraud in New York civil case


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